By Michael Marzzacco
From the wires:
SYRACUSE (AAA International League):
The Syracuse Chiefs fell late to the Gwinnett Braves Wednesday afternoon, 3-2. Matt Skole homered in the loss while a Chiefs’ rally in the ninth came up just short.
Syracuse (46-51) opened the scoring in the bottom of the fourth inning off of Gwinnett starter Chris Ellis. Skole led off the frame for the Chiefs by hitting a solo home run over the fence in right-center field to give Syracuse a 1-0 lead. Matt den Dekker followed Skole with an infield single. Ellis then got wild on the mound, hitting Jason Martinson with a pitch and walking Zach Collier to load the bases with no outs. After an Adrian Sanchez line out, Jhonatan Solano came up. He lofted a ball to right field which was caught by Mel Rojas Jr. Den Dekker tagged up on the play and came in to score, giving Syracuse a 2-0 advantage.
Gwinnett (42-56) earned a run back in the sixth inning off of Taylor Hill. Rojas Jr. did the damage for the Braves, hitting a home run directly down the right-field line to cut the lead to 2-1.
Hill ended his outing after seven innings of work. He allowed five hits and the one run while striking out three and walking one. Hill has pitched at least seven innings for the third consecutive start. He has allowed just two earned runs combined in the outings.
Gwinnett came up big in the top of the ninth. Erik Davis began the inning in relief with a 2-1 lead. He led off the frame by walking Blake Lalli, who was replaced by pinch-runner Sean Kazmar. After a strikeout, Daniel Castro singled, putting Braves on the corners with one out. Davis then hit Reid Brignac with a pitch to load the bases for Emilio Bonifacio. With the corner infielders on the grass, Bonifacio grounded a ball to Caleb Ramsey at first. Ramsey threw home to cut down the lead runner, giving the Chiefs two outs with the bases still loaded. However, Omar Infante came up with a clutch hit for Gwinnett, singling into left-center field to score both Castro and Brignac to take a 3-2 lead.
Syracuse started a rally of its own in the bottom of the ninth against Gwinnett reliever Jose Ramirez. Collier opened the frame for the Chiefs with a single to left. Sanchez then tacked on another single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Solano followed with a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners to second and third for Christopher Bostick. Ramirez issued a walk to Bostick, loading the bases with one out. Ramsey then hit a ground ball to Infante at second. Bostick was called out on an attempted tag at second base before Infante threw to first and retired Ramsey for a game-ending double play.
Syracuse travels to Rochester Thursday to begin a home-and-home four-game series with the Red Wings. The Chiefs have scheduled Austin Voth to start Thursday against Rochester’s Andrew Albers. First pitch for the game is at 7:05.
HARRISBURG (AA Eastern League): The Harrisburg Senators were unable to complete a sweep of the Erie SeaWolves Wednesday afternoon, falling 8-2, in the final game of an eight-game road trip for the Senators.
Harrisburg (52-44) finished 5-3 on the trip, winning 3-of-5 in Altoona and taking 2-of-3 at Erie. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak by the Senators.
Michael Brady set a new career high in strikeouts on Wednesday, punching out 10 Erie batters in six innings of work. Brady’s previous best was nine strikeouts, which came last season against Frisco when he was pitching for Anaheim’s AA affiliate, Arkansas. However, Brady was saddled with the loss Wednesday as he allowed four runs on seven hits and two walks.
Erie took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Tyler Bortnick. The Senators responded in the third inning as Stephen Perez walked with one out. Then with two outs, Perez stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Andrew Stevenson drove in Perez with a single through the left side to tie the game. Stevenson then stole second base and scored on an RBI single by Wilmer Difo.
However, the lead was short lived as Erie scored two runs in the bottom of the third inning on a Jason Krizan RBI single and a Brady balk that allowed Bortnick to score from third.
Bortnick, who finished 3-for-4, tripled to lead off the fifth inning and scored on a Krizan sacrifice fly.
After Brady pitched a 1-2-3 sixth, Erie scored three runs in the seventh inning and one in the eighth off Harrisburg reliever Ryan Brinley.
Each of the first four hitters in the Senators’ lineup, Stevenson, Difo, Rafael Bautista and Neftali Soto, had a single in the game. Bautista stole his 41st base of the season and is now just 10 shy of tying the franchise record of 51, set by Jim Reboulet in 1987.
The Senators return home to begin a seven-game homestand tomorrow, beginning with a four-game series against Richmond. The series opener will begin at 7:00 p.m. and can be heard on Fox Sports 1460 AM, on the internet at senatorsbaseball.com, or through the TuneIn and iHeart Radio apps with The Matt LeCroy Show beginning the radio broadcast at 6:45 p.m.
POTOMAC (High-A Carolina League): OFF. The Washington Nationals have assigned 1B Ryan Zimmerman to the Potomac Nationals to begin a rehabilitation assignment. The right-handed hitting first baseman will join the P-Nats Thursday night for the homestand opener at Pfitzner Stadium, as the P-Nats host the Winston-Salem Dash at 7:05pm.
The Nationals’ first baseman was placed on the 15-day DL on July 8th, retroactive to July 7th with a left rib cage strain. Zimmerman will begin his rehab assignment with Potomac on Thursday night.
The 31-year-old Zimmerman has 12 home runs and 38 RBIs through 74 games with Washington this season. Zimmerman, the fourth overall selection in the 2005 MLB Draft out of the University of Virginia, has played his entire career in the Washington system.
Zimmerman made his debut with the Nationals on September 1st, 2005, just months after he was drafted. Through 12 seasons with Washington, Zimmerman has hit 212 home runs, driven in 821 runs, and has 333 doubles. A career .280 hitter, the first baseman was an All-Star in 2009 and played in the postseason for the Nationals in 2012 and 2014. Zimmerman finished second in the “Rookie of the Year” voting in 2006.
2016 will mark the fifth different year that Zimmerman has rehabbed with the P-Nats, as he played two games for Potomac in 2008, three games for the P-Nats in 2011, one game for The Red, White, & Blue in 2013, and four games for Potomac in 2014. In 10 total games for the P-Nats, Zimmerman is 12-37 (.324) with five doubles and four RBIs. The first baseman is the third Washington Nationals player to rehab with Potomac in 2016, as RHP Matt Belisle and RHP Jonathan Papelbon have each played with the P-Nats thus far this season.
Potomac opens up a seven-day homestand Thursday night vs. the Winston-Salem Dash. First pitch is at 7:05pm and gates open at 6:00pm.
HAGERSTOWN (Low-A South Atlantic League): The Hagerstown Suns (60-36) defeated the Columbia Fireflies (42-53) 4-2 on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium to extend their winning streak to seven games, their longest winning streak of the season.
Ian Sagdal and Matthew Page each gathered three hits in the first game of the series.
In the bottom of the first inning, Sagdal doubled and scored from second on an infield error after a dropped third strike, advancing Kelvin Gutierrez to third base. Gutierrez scored on a single by Page.
Telmito Agustin had an RBI double in the second inning, scoring Edwin Lora from second base, to put the suns up by three runs.
Hagerstown stretched their lead to four runs in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Sagdal.
Columbia scored their first run on an RBI double by Vicente Lupo with two outs in the fifth inning and their second run on a sacrifice-fly by Tucker Tharp with one out in the seventh inning.
Winning pitcher, Taylor Guilbeau (2-1), allowed five hits and one earned run through five innings.
Philip Walby pitched the ninth inning, striking out two, to earn his third save.
Columbia’s Chase Ingram (4-9, 5.55) will face Hagerstown’s Jefry Rodriguez (7-5, 4.15) on Thursday at Municipal Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. ET.
AUBURN (Short Season-A New York Penn League): The Auburn Doubledays lost to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 9-1, on Tuesday night at Falcon Park. Doubledays designated hitter David Kerian hit his first professional home run in the loss.
Mahoning Valley (12-20) scored first in the top of the first inning. Gabriel Mejia led off with a triple. Silento Sayles then struck out, and Jodd Carter grounded out for the first two outs of the inning. Erlin Cerda singled to center field though, as Mejia scored to give the Scrappers a 1-0 lead. Andrew Calica then walked to put runners on first and second base. With Collins batting, Cerda stole third base. Collins was still the batter when a pickoff attempt at first base tipped off of Ryan Ripken’s glove, allowing Calica to advance to second base and Cerda to score to put Mahoning Valley up 2-0. Collins followed with a double that knocked Calica in to extend the Scrappers’ lead to three, 3-0. Emmanuel Tapia then singled to right field, scoring Collins for a 4-0 Mahoning Valley advantage. Gian Paul Gonzalez put an exclamation point on the inning for the Scrappers with a double down the left-field line that scored Tapia from first base and stretched the Scrappers’ lead to five, 5-0.
The Doubledays (15-17) scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the third inning. Kerian led off with a solo home run to right field to cut the Mahoning Valley lead to four, 5-1. The home run was Kerian’s first professional home run of his career.
The Scrappers extended their lead in the fifth inning. With two outs, Calica tripled. With Collins batting, a wild pitch allowed Calica to score to put Mahoning Valley back up by five, 6-1.
Mahoning Valley added two more runs in the sixth inning. With two outs, Alexis Pantoja doubled to left field. Mejia then singled to score Pantoja to give the Scrappers a 7-1 lead. Mejia advanced to second base on the throw home. Sayles followed with an RBI triple, scoring Mejia for an 8-1 advantage.
The Scrappers added one more run in the seventh. With one out, Calica homered to right field for the first time in his young career to put Mahoning Valley in front by eight, 9-1.
The Doubledays have an off day on Wednesday before traveling to State College for a three-game series with the Spikes that begins on Thursday. Right-hander Dane Dunning will make his second start for Auburn on Thursday, while left-hander John Kilichowski will be on the mound for State College. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.